The Holdeman Mennonites are also known as the Church of God in Christ Mennonites. John Holdeman, the leader of the group, believed that the Mennonite Church was in “decay”. He had attended revival meetings in the Methodist-influenced Church of God and noted that the Mennonite Church did not have the fervor of the Church of God. His exhortations to Mennonites went unheeded so he left the Mennonite Church in 1859 and formed the Church of God in Christ Mennonites.
Holdeman expressed the necessity of experiencing genuine rebirth before being baptized. Many of his emphases were based on traditional Mennonite teachings - more faithful and consistent church discipline, avoiding the excommunicated, the practice of nonresistance, etc. Holdeman taught that his church was the one “true church”. Their beliefs and accepted practices are carefully defined with little room for doubt as to what is “right” or “wrong.”
Church of God in Christ Mennonite beliefs continue to reflect the conservative strains of the Mennonite traditions. They do not condone radio or television. The men wear trimmed beards and conventional coats without ties. The women wear modest dresses but no jewelry, and their hair is uncut, pinned under a small black fitted bonnet. For church services their heads are covered with black rectangular scarves. They worship in comfortable, but relatively plain buildings which may include loudspeaker systems, air-conditioning, padded pews, and carpeted floors but no musical instruments.
They are respected in the communities where they reside for their care and concern, willingness to help, reliability in work and ethical ways. They are regarded as a people who continue to take their Christian doctrines and responsibilities very seriously.
See also www.churchofgodinchristmennonite.net